Contest Winner To Be Killed!

And the runner up maimed!  Oh my, the humanity!!

Yes, it is true.  The winner of the Mission: VALOR art contest will die three times (and enjoy it no less), and the runner-up will be maimed.  Thanks to Sarah A. Hoyt, Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, Le Creuset, MilitaryLuggage.com, Battlemug.com, and Doctrine Man for the initial prizes to go to the respective estates.  Oh, and not only is Nick Searcy a judge for the contest, he’s now on the National Advisory Board for Mission: VALOR.  Thanks also to judges John Sheppard, Greg Browning, and Erin Ingram, who stand ready to join with Nick and give the death penalty multiple times.

 

It’s My Birthday

Yes, it is indeed my birthday, and if you want to do something for me, go make a donation to Mission: VALOR.  Thank you

A Random Act Of Beauty

Mission: VALOR has been taking almost every moment of my time recently, especially as we are completing start-up and moving into stand-up phase.  So, Saturday I took a small bit of time for me and went down early to the Mosey Down Mainstreet in Lafayette, IN.  Here are the first images that I present as a senseless act of random beauty (or cruelty, depending on your opinion of my photography).

mosey1a1 mosey2a mosey3a mosey4a mosey5a mosey6a mosey7b mosey8a

Just Because

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& a slightly different version, both of which I hear in “Pooh” voice

BuggerPoo

 

Marion Zimmer Bradley & A Dangerous Double Standard

I love to write, always have and I hope I always will do so.  I’ve been fortunate to have people from teachers to other writers encourage me, and to help me grow.  One of the more interesting ways this has happened is through my having been a science writer/writing guest at a variety of science fiction conventions.

At one such event, I met the late Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I will confess that I had not and have not read much of her work, and that was a point I danced around very diplomatically when we were both guests at a MOC (Magnum Opus Con) many years ago.  She was not just polite to me, she was warm, engaging, encouraging, and even offered to buy a fiction story.  Sadly, her assistant refused to do so because I lacked the right body plumbing, and the refusal to honor MZB’s wishes was disappointing (if not surprising).  While MZB was welcoming, her staff was not and I was left with no real desire to explore her works further given the response.

I was well aware she had handlers and staff, and that they jealously guarded her and access to her.  Had we not met in person as guests, I doubt that anything I would have ever sent her would have been seen by her.  I know the messages sent to her after the convention sure weren’t… What I did not realize was that people protected her in more ways than I realized.

Over the last few weeks, a great deal has come out about Marion Zimmer Bradley and her second husband, Walter Breen.  So much so, that some writers are doing the right thing in regards payments and royalties from her estate.  What is truly sickening is that so much of this was hidden, and actively covered and enabled, and apparently by more than just those close to her/them.

To expand on what I wrote on Facebook, I find it sad that so many covered for them both, and were prepared to ignore the real harm being done to minors by both.  This is not hurt, it is real and lasting harm and the latest revelations disgust me.  One can argue many things about age-of-consent laws and application, but there are things that are clearly right and clearly wrong, and far too many were not just willing to turn a blind eye to wrong, but apparently to actively cover for it.

In an era where baseless charges of racism, sexism, and more have been leveled at writers, editors, and fans over mere politics, it seems more than passing strange that some have been given a pass for real and harmful actions against minors. It seems to me that paedophilia should be treated far more severely than simply holding a political opinion.  I eagerly await the outrage from those foaming at the mouth over political incorrectness at this real and gross violation and sexual exploitation of children.  (yes, that last sentence is sarcastic)

News To Share

Well, I did indeed run in my first run/race, the 5th Annual Big Apple Run for the Warriors, and despite issues on the second half, managed to take silver for men in my age group.  No, I’m not saying how old I am.  :)  I ran in a Blackfive t-shirt, but switched to his one after the race.

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I’m also very pleased to announce that the IRS has spoken, and Mission: VALOR is now a 501(c)(3) charity.  More than that, the IRS made it effective as of our date of incorporation, so any donations from 10 March 2014 on should be tax deductible.  We need volunteers, and we urgently need donations so we can move out to help with the crisis in veteran employment.  There is a lot more news to share, but that will wait just a bit while we get word of our new and much appreciated status out to the world.  Remember, you can donate anything from $1 on up, and you can use the quantity button to make things match what you want if we don’t have it already set.

 

Bergdahl

I am glad SGT Bergdahl is free.  I am far less than happy at HOW he was freed.  That we do not leave anyone behind is an article of faith and devotion for the rank and file, though I do wonder how seriously higher takes it…

Now, comes the hard part and what we must all demand of higher:  a fair, complete, and impartial investigation of all the circumstances that placed SGT Bergdahl into enemy hands.  Given the number of troops who died trying to find and recover him, the questions must be answered and justice done to the fullest possible extent.  Being freed is not a free pass, for a very high price has been paid and a long-standing tenet of diplomacy forfeited in the process.  I fear a very bad precedent has been set, and to whitewash to even the slightest degree will only make it worse.

Sadly, I have no faith and confidence that any of this will happen.  I would be unsurprised to see SGT Bergdahl hailed as a hero and given a ticker-tape parade.  I hope to be proven wrong, but will not bet on that happening.

UPDATE:  Another reason this smells.  Everyone is focusing on the first sentence, look at the second.  Hard.  That is the key, and the target on our troops just got larger IMO.

Memorial Day

Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

To the God in Man displayed — Where’er we see that Birth, Be love and understanding paid As never yet on earth!

To the Spirit that moves in Man,
On Whom all worlds depend,
Be Glory since our world began
And service to the end!

Final stanzas, The Choice, Rudyard Kipling

Let me start with the end, instead of the beginning.  I am not asking that we make Memorial Day somber and solemn, a thing without levity or fun.  I know none who have served who would want that, particularly those who did not come home.  We should enjoy the day and the weekend in their honor, so that they and the reason for this day are not forgotten.

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My Thoughts

Shared for no reason this Saturday morning…

Incentives For Donations

Over at Mission: VALOR, we are working on two major efforts.  We need to raise at least $1,500.00 ASAP to cover a variety of expenses and help us seize some opportunities.  To that end, we have some incentives for your donations.  Or, if you don’t want them, feel free to donate directly here.

When looking that over, if you have suggestions for donations, please do let us know.  As always, do your due diligence on Mission: VALOR and any other charity or group you are considering donating to.  While we have filed for 501(c)(3) status, you should check with a tax professional about potential tax or other benefits.

Gala1We are also seeking a donor to purchase a table on our behalf for the upcoming Army Birthday Gala being put on by Army Week Association.  Our plan is to donate most of the spaces at the table to troops, veterans, and Gold Star Families that would not otherwise be able to attend the event.  Cost of the table is $10k.